Sunday, September 14, 2014

After the Fire - A special hike with Dana Visalli

Our Okanogan chapter of the WA Native Plant Society recently sponsored a special hike to observe plants after the fires. The hike was led by naturalist and current chapter president, Dana Visalli. 

About 20 people gathered to take a stroll through recently burnt habitat in the Methow Valley. With plants already springing back after the tremendous fires we had this summer all were eager to see what which plants were thriving. 

Before setting off Dana proposed these questions to ponder about fire: 

1. What is fire?  Why can you take a piece of paper or wood, raise it to certain temperature, and it disappears and cloud of smoke and heat?  What’s going on here?

2. If plants in arid regions can adapt to fire by simply resprouting from the root crown, why don’t all of the plants that grow in the Methow have the ability to resprout?

3. Why did the oxygen content of the atmosphere reach 30% during the Carboniferous Period 350 million years ago and then sink back to today’s 21%.

4. Life on land would be enormously diminished without fire.  Why is this the case?

5. It is now thought that fire was instrumental in the evolution of flowering plants, including the grasses.  Why?

Dana supplied everyone with a handout showing which native plants are increased or decreased with fire. This handout will be available in the next Methow Naturalist. You can buy your copy here. 

Here's some of the plants we saw coming up through the charred ground. 

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)

Pine (Pinus ponderosa)

Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata)

Aspen (Populus tremula)


More aspen, they were quite prolific. 

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Please sign up on our mailing list (in the upper right hand column) to be notified of our free plant walks in 2015.

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